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Smuggler's Cave

Below the Iberomaurusian level there are numerous levels that are associated with Aterian and Mousterian industries. The most complete description of portions of these industries can be found in the dissertation of Abdeljalil Bouzouggar (1997a). However, most of the industry remains unpublished.

In a brief note published in the Bulletin archéologique marocaine volume XIV, Jean Roche mentions that the lithics from levels 14 through 16 were studied. These assemblages were poor in number and manufactured using coarse raw materials such as quartzite and quartz. The levallois indices are low.

The next year, a similar note appears and indicates numbers of artifacts that belong to some of the archaeological layers. Layer 9 from the original excavations total 260 pieces, layer 11a from the Roche – Texier excavations total 720 artifacts, and finally layer 11c from the original excavations contains 4900 artifacts. The technology in these layers is crude and often on coarse raw materials. The use of quartz increases the older the assemblages get. In level 9, 18% of the assemblage consists of quartz, 42% in layer 11c. In general a wide variety of raw materials has been used at the site. Levallois and blade indices are low, denticulates and notches high. In layer 9, 20% of the assemblage consists of stemmed artifacts. This percentage decreases in older assemblages (6% in 11a, 4.75% or none in 11b [depending on the source], and none in layer 11c).

This leads Roche to conclude that layers 11b and c belong to the Mousterian industry eventhough the latter does not differ technologically from the Aterian. Finally the presence of bifaces in layers 11b and c should be noted (Debénath et al 1986; Debénath et al 1981-982; Debénath et al 1983-1984).

In his PhD disseration Bouzouggar (1997a, 1997b) analyses material from three Aterian levels at Contrebandiers cave (his layers III, V, and VII). The material comes from his excavations and some from the Roche-Texier excavations. In total he examines 2814 artifacts from these layers. A big portion of Bouzouggar’s thesis is concerned with the identification of raw material and the separate analysis of each set of raw material to reconstruct the possible different use of each raw material technologically and typologically. The raw materials used at Contrebandiers Cave include quartz, quartzite, silex, and grey limestone.

Over time and based on his sample, there is no evidence that the use of raw material changed over time. However, there is some evidence to suggest that each raw material was treated differently. For example, the fine grained silex was utilized more extensively than was the much coarser quartz (Bouzouggar 1997a, 1997b). Further, the use of silex became more complex with time as well. In terms of where the primary reduction takes place, Bouzouggar argues that silex was reduced locally, whereas grey limestone was imported as finished product.

In terms of the more standard typo-technological assessment of these three layers it could be said that stemmed tools decline in numbers with time, an observation also made by Jean Roche. Foliates and large tools made on cobbles are rare thoughout. Levallois is abundant in layer III, declines in layer V and is the most abundant in layer VII. Notches and denticulates are common in all three layers and seem to increase with age. Scrapers are abundant in all layers, but in layer VII notches and denticulates are more important as a class. Raw material utilization, particularly of silex, is high (Bouzouggar 1997a, 1997b).

content provided by Utsav Schurmans from the Rapport D'Operations Pour l'Année 2006

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